The 100-kilometer public forest in the Zambezi region is threatened daily by illegal loggers, with the main intruders entering the Namibian region from neighboring countries, in particular Zambia, Romeo Muyunda, spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, said on Monday, 22 November, according to The Namibian newspaper.
A spokesman for the ministry told the publication that regular patrols and targeted operations are carried out in the state forest to protect the country’s natural resources.
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, illegal logging continues. We confiscated logs that had been cut down and left there to dry so the smugglers could come back for them. We also encourage our Zambian colleagues to do more on their side of the border,” Muyunda said.
He explained that the border zone has a lot of loopholes for smugglers and the collective efforts of all interested parties are required to combat them.
According to him, if this detrimental situation for the forest continues, it will have a negative impact on the country, especially on the environment, since forests are a key factor in human survival and climate preservation.
Deforestation reduces the ability of an area to absorb carbon and thereby prevent climate change. Ultimately, this could see Namibia fail in its national contribution to climate change goals if this trend is not reversed, Muyunda said.
On Friday, a successful sting operation by the Zambezi Regional Police to catch illegal timber harvesters led to the arrest of an Angolan and a Zimbabwean for possession of 32 trunks of mahogany timber.
During an interview with Namibian Regional Police Chief Andreas Shilelo, he said the arrest operation was in response to the alarming rate of illegal logging along the border between Namibia and Zambia in the Namibian State Forest.
The police managed to detain the suspect, who was driving a tractor with a trailer loaded with 32 logs. “The cost of the redwood has yet to be determined,” the policeman said.